By Keith Idec
The World Boxing Super Series has added more name recognition to the field for its upcoming bantamweight tournament.
The WBSS announced through social media Thursday that Nonito Donaire has agreed to participate in its single-elimination, 118-pound competition. Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs) is a former WBC/WBO bantamweight champion, but the 35-year-old fighter most recently competed at featherweight, two weight classes higher.
Former featherweight champ Carl Frampton defeated Donaire by unanimous decision in that 12-round fight April 21 at SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Donaire, of San Leandro, California, last fought at the bantamweight limit of 118 pounds in October 2011, when he out-pointed Argentina’s Omar Narvaez in a 12-round fight for the WBC and WBO bantamweight championships in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Donaire then fought five times at the super bantamweight maximum of 122 pounds, before moving up to featherweight for three straight fights. “The Filipino Flash” then moved back down to super bantamweight for five more fights.
His last two appearances have come in featherweight fights.
“I’m really looking forward to the tournament,” Donaire said in a press release. “People always asked about my goal and I said to be undisputed. With this tournament, that goal is now attainable. Entering the tournament gives me an opportunity to showcase my capabilities against the best in the division. This division is stacked with talent and that’s really exciting. I believe my size, experience and most of all my power will give me the edge over my opponents.”
The WBSS previously has announced the commitments of three bantamweight champions to its 118-pound tournament. Those title-holders include WBA “super” champ Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9 KOs), IBF champ Manny Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs) and WBO champ Zolani Tete (27-3, 21 KOs). Jason Moloney (17-0, 14 KOs), the mandatory challenger for Rodriguez’s title, also has agreed to participate in it.
Heavily hyped Japanese knockout artist Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14 KOs) also has acknowledged he’ll fight in the WBSS. Inoue owns the WBA’s world bantamweight title and is considered the best fighter in that division.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.